Binge WatchingLatest News and Opinion
Posted Thursday 8/02/18 at 3:05AM EDT
When do acclaimed TV shows peak?
Source: The Ringer
Using data from IMDb user rating data for individual TV episodes, The Ringer generated graphs showing "TV aging curbs" that reveal when comedies and dramas are at their best.
Posted Wednesday 8/01/18 at 12:04AM EDT
Can the TV recap survive in the Peak TV era?
Source: The Ringer
TV recaps changed the way we view television, immortalizing classic episodes of shows such as Lost, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Sopranos. But as Alison Herman points out, "the streaming model, with its seasons designed to be binged on one’s own schedule rather than watched live as a collective, has made the recap less essential as a place to process a show’s events until the next installment airs. Social media has supplanted comments sections as a meeting site for like-minded enthusiasts. The sheer volume of Peak TV has winnowed the number of shows with a following large and dedicated enough to merit a recap down to a handful of blockbusters and prestige stalwarts."
Posted Tuesday 7/31/18 at 4:36AM EDT
Presenting The Top 100 TV episodes so far this century
Source: The Ringer
The Ringer's list of 100 episodes include everything from The Price is Right to The Sopranos to Laguna Beach.
Posted Wednesday 7/18/18 at 11:21PM EDT
Netflix revamps its TV interface
The new interface rolling out today is aimed at making it easier for subscribers to quickly find stuff to watch on the streaming service. The new menu splits TV shows and movies into different one-click menus. “Our research has shown us that while a member generally isn’t sure what exact title they want to watch, they have a pretty good sense of whether they are in the mood for a quick series episode or a longer movie experience,” explains Stephen Garcia, Netflix's director of product innovation.
Posted Tuesday 7/10/18 at 1:20PM EDT
Netflix will allow Android users to automatically download new episodes
The Smart Downloads app feature aims to make binge-watching offline more convenient by downloading episodes. The app will automatically delete an episode once you're done watching, and download the next one.
Posted Sunday 7/08/18 at 6:39PM EDT
HBO must become bigger and broader, says its new overseer at AT&T
Source: The New York Times
HBO's successful approach of quality over quantity may become a thing of the past. The New York Times has obtained a recording of John Stankey, the longtime AT&T executive now charged with overseeing HBO as head of Warner Media, in conversation with HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler before HBO staffers on June 19. In the tape, Stankey appears to suggest that HBO move away from being a boutique operation focused on its signature Sunday night lineup, into something bigger and better -- something more akin to Netflix (without actually naming the streaming giant). “We need hours a day,” Stankey said, referring to the time viewers spend watching HBO programs. “It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes.” Stankey added: “I want more hours of engagement. Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow’s world.” Pleper pointed out that HBO's approach has generated a lot of money. “Yes, you do,” Stankey responded. “Just not enough.” In an interview with The Times last month, Stankey promised a hands-off approach to HBO and CNN.
Posted Saturday 7/07/18 at 10:36AM EDT
GLOW proves that streaming shows don't have to structure their seasons like a very long movie
"The truism about writing a season of a streaming TV show — that it isn’t really TV, it’s a very long movie — is one of the more tiresome, unnecessary clichés currently in vogue," says Kathryn VanArendonk. Even showrunners of non-streaming shows -- from Mr. Robot to Game of Thrones to Twin Peaks and Westworld -- like to describe their seasons as like a "10-hour movie." But as VanArendonk points out, "the problem is that too many shows built for the long haul are boring. They’re full of baggy, meandering stories that equate episodic stories with frivolity and season-length ones with quality. Even more frustrating, the ten-hour-movie phenomenon ignores the potential for an episode to be something other than a plot bucket. The implication is that a show with an episodic framework is something lesser than, weaker, or simpler. GLOW season two is a great reminder that using an episode as an individual unit rather than one act in a film — or a book chapter, or some otherwise meaningless divider — makes the whole season stronger." She adds: "It’s so encouraging to see a show like GLOW approach the streaming form in a way that doesn’t turn the whole season into structureless pulp. The strength of separate units, stories with their own power and weight, doesn’t have to get discarded just because the episodes don’t come out one at a time."
Posted Monday 6/11/18 at 8:19AM EDT
Inside Netflix's "binge factory," which has upended television by replacing demographics with "taste clusters"
According to Josef Adalian's deep dive into Netflix, the streaming service relies on "taste clusters," described as "predicating programming decisions on immense amounts of data about true viewing habits, not estimated ones. It has discovered ways to bundle enough niche viewers to make good business out of fare that used to play only to tiny markets." “Nothing is too niche,” says Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “It’s just relative to what it costs. We can put a smaller show on the air and support the economics through subscriptions, but it’s not infinite. Eventually, there’s opportunity cost.” Adalian adds: "Mysterious though it may seem, Netflix operates by a simple logic, long understood by such tech behemoths as Facebook and Amazon: Growth begets more growth begets more growth. When Netflix adds more content, it lures new subscribers and gets existing ones to watch more hours of Netflix. As they spend more time watching, the company can collect more data on their viewing habits, allowing it to refine its bets about future programming." Or as Sarandos puts it, “more shows, more watching; more watching, more subs; more subs, more revenue; more revenue, more content."
Posted Thursday 6/07/18 at 10:08PM EDT
Hulu reveals binge-watching data: Family Matters fans watch all 215 episodes in a month
Full House viewers have also binged through the entire series in the course of a month, according to a slew of new Hulu date. Hulu also revealed that the average Family Matters viewer is 34, which would put them at 5 years old when the "TGIT" comedy premiered in 1989. Hulu also says that 35,000 people watched all 331 episodes of medical drama ER in the first two months it was available for streaming.
Posted Friday 6/01/18 at 11:47PM EDT
Does The Americans' series finale signal the end of TV's Golden Age?
Source: Paste Magazine
Wednesday's series finale "marks the end of an era," says Matt Brenn. "It is the last of the cycle of truly great cable dramas that began with The Sopranos, The Wire, and The Shield, passed through Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Justified, and concluded—in the course of another auspicious year-or-so—with the final bows of The Leftovers, Halt and Catch Fire, and now The Americans. I suspect that we may soon see this as a point of demarcation. The 'Golden Age of Television' is officially over."
Posted Thursday 5/31/18 at 9:13PM EDT
Americans are still watching an astounding amount of TV every day
Source: The Atlantic
Viewership hours peaked in the 2009-10 season with Americans watching 8 hours and 55 minutes of TV a day. But Americans still watch a lot of TV, averaging about 7 hours and 50 minutes per household per day, which is more than they watched in the 2001-02 season.
Posted Monday 5/07/18 at 10:00PM EDT
Study: Viewers prefer Netflix originals over HBO, Amazon and Hulu
Morgan Stanley surveyed 3,100 American viewers, and found that 39% of them believed Netflix had the "best original programming." ALSO: Study says Netflix may be killing viewers' sex lives.
Posted Monday 5/07/18 at 5:09PM EDT
Netflix boss: "it's not humanly possible anymore" for me to watch everything on my streaming service
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Chief content officer Ted Sarandos admits even he can't watch all the shows on Netflix. Asked by The Hollywood Reporter how he keeps up, he confessed: "Not very well sometimes. I have an amazing team. And more than that, an amazing team that's super empowered, that can make those decisions. There was a time when I got to watch every cut and read every draft, and I don't even think — it's not humanly possible anymore." Sarandos made his comments at a For Your Consideration Emmy campaign event featuring a nearly 200-strong red carpet representing nearly 60 different Netflix programs, from Dave Chappelle to the stars of G.L.O.W., American Vandal and 13 Reasons Why.
Posted Friday 5/04/18 at 10:26PM EDT
TV shows are shooting themselves in the foot with inconsistently long running times
"When a drama tinkers all season long with episodes that can run from 45 minutes to 75 minutes, it creates a narrative uncertainty that I, the viewer at home, can sense on a subconscious level," says Drew Magary, echoing a recent complaint that "overly long episodes are the manspreading of TV." "It makes me uneasy. I have no sense of structure for the story." Magary adds: "Take The Americans, for example. Now, I bailed on this show in its penultimate season because of its comically turgid pacing. It’s like living through the Cold War in real time. I think there was an entire episode that just consisted of Oleg touring a supermarket. After a trial separation, I have returned to that show in its final go-round, mostly because I wanna see if Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys get busted, or maybe even betray each other and square off in the Octagon. But the very small amount of goodwill I’m willing to extend that show gets severely tested when I queue up an episode and I’m greeted with a running time of 1:23. Come on, man. What the f*ck. I know not every story fits properly into a set time frame, but did you REALLY need all those extra shots of Elizabeth pensively smoking a Camel out on the patio?"
Posted Thursday 4/12/18 at 1:02PM EDT
A hypothesis: Season 2 is either the best or worst season on many beloved shows
"Some shows burst out of the gate strong, only to fall flat in season two," says Nate Jones. "(Just like in the music business, you have your whole life to plan your show’s first season, and a few months to plan its second.) Other shows, maybe having slightly underperformed in the ratings, overcorrect based on network notes. Sometimes they manage to get back on track, sometimes they just keep getting worse, but either way, season two is where the trouble started." Jones tests his theory on a variety of shows, from The Office to Friday Night Lights, The Wire and Grey's Anatomy.